Thanks to Makers Mark for this cool bottle they gave me not long ago
I don’t post on here nearly as often as I would like these days, but I do miss it a great deal. For a number of years, this was my primary method of expression and I still think writing on this blog is the best way to convey thoughts in the most thorough manner. With that in mind, I wanted to take a bit of time tonight to throw out some news/notes on the UK sports landscape and update people on all the various KSR media ventures at this point. With that, a few words on all the KSR Platforms:
— Television As most of you know, we launched the TV show “Hey Kentucky” three weeks ago and it is off to a successful start. Early feedback has been excellent and our viewership has been much stronger initially than I would have anticipated. Most importantly to me, it has been a great experience from a creative standpoint as I have enjoyed creating, preparing and executing this show over the last month as much as anything I have ever done. We have a rotating group of co-hosts that have all been excellent and are great to work with (Drew, Mary Jo Perino, Jeremy Jarmon, Perrin Johnson, Chip Cosby, Steve Romines and Lee Cruse). Mayor Jim Gray has been a guest host and we hope to have more folks from different walks of life have such guest roles in the future (Rand Paul, feel free to call us back). From a creative standpoint, the ability to not only talk about sports, but to do a show that debates and discusses local issues to Kentucky outside of sports has been terrific and I hope those of you have that have watched enjoy it. If you have missed any of the shows, or live outside the viewing area of WLEX at 7:30 pm every night, you can watch them online at HeyKentucky.com (the website is finally working better).
Radio As you know if you listen regularly, we have added Drew Franklin into the mix more often on the radio show, as he is now on 2 times a week. Shannon the Dude is playing a larger speaking role in the daily show and we will continue to add the occasional outside voice over the basketball season. We have lots of special events planned upcoming, including our road trip to Vegas for the game versus North Carolina in December. Radio continues to be the form of KSR where I feel most comfortable being my total self and is the single most fun job I have had in my life. We have finished first in the ratings in Louisville over the 6 of the past 7 (21 total months) ratings books and in every ratings book in Lexington over the past 4 years.
Podcasts: Right now the KSR Podcast feeds are as active as they have ever been and we hope to grow even more over the coming months. There are currently three active podcasts on the KSR feed (which you can find with the “Kentucky Sports Radio” feed on iTunes or other podcast applications)…the Football Podcast (which has been huge this year), Freddie Maggard’s Game Preview Podcast (Which is Football geek heaven) and Tyler Thompson’s Podcast (which has had great interviews including a new one with Doris Burke). We will likely add a Basketball one soon and then potentially a new exciting one in January with people never before associated with KSR. Finally, I will be bringing the Matt Jones Podcast back very soon. I needed to get this tv show off the ground and so I took some time off of that one but I will return in the next couple of weeks. It is still the best method for in-depth conversation and we will have a new one very soon.
Website The website will be undergoing a fairly substantial redesign over the coming months, with the hopes of a debut soon after the first of the year. It will be the most substantial overhaul in our history, with our first dedicated mobile platform, a new and improved App (including Android) and a new visual design for desktops as well. It is intended to keep KSR ahead of the times and I think people will really like it. In the meantime, I think from a content standpoint, the writing of Drew, Tyler, Nick and all of our other writers is as good as it has ever been. Expect to see more video, podcast and other platforms used on the site as we get into 2017.
Social Media Over the course of 2017, the KSR social media usage will continue to increase. I hope you are of course following my Twitter (@Kysportsradio), our Facebook page (which will have increased use over the next year as well…including a lot of live streaming video), our Pinterest page, my Snapchat (@kysportsradio) and the accounts of our writers (some of which are listed below). The reality of the changing media world is that these will continue to be used more and become integrated into all the things we do:
One last note on the KSR Brand…in order to continue to evolve and move forward, we are hitting topics that are different than a straight sports site. I hear people complain about this from time to time and while I understand the thoughts, it is part of a rational decision. In today’s media landscape, sites that only do straight sports and nothing else are dying…period. The sites that are successful are ones that do sports in a slightly different way, produce opinions, touch on other tidbits around the internet and attempt to go beyond scores, etc. We have always done that here and will continue to do so. If you aren’t a fan of particular parts of it, I get it but there is a method to the madness. We still hope you find this site, my radio show, the tv show, etc a place you want to visit. The numbers suggest you still do and we appreciate that a ton.
Some random thoughts/news:
— I hear very positive things about the UK Basketball recruiting weekend that just finished. The Cats had 11 players on campus (that we know of), including a surprise visit at the last minute from Mohammend Bamba. Calipari took the strategy of bringing nearly all of his top targets at once and I am hearing that it went swimmingly well. I believe PJ Washington and Nick Richards to be two guys who Kentucky definitively leads with after this weekend and the Cats are top two for at least two more (Trae Young and Kevin Knox). I am told the former Cats on campus for Big Blue Madness were a hit and that it was “a really good weekend for the program all the way around.”
— I thought it was a good overall Big Blue Madness. Rupp Arena looks the best it has ever looked after the new changes and the scoreboard/new sound system are terrific additions. The checkerboard floor is not as noticeable as I originally thought (which is good) and I think Rupp is going to be a much improved place to play overall. I loved the addition of the former players at the event and my only quibble is one that UK has no control over (the way the SEC Network still talks over the events). Overall a good night for the program once again.
— Some of you may have seen on Twitter Friday where some members of the 1996 team were mad at me over comments I made on the radio show on Thursday. It wasn’t enjoyable having members of one of my three favorite teams of all time being upset at me, but I do understand some of their points. On the show, I criticized the fact that some members of the team continue to complain privately about treatment from UK or John Calipari and I had become annoyed at the continued silly bickering. For the 2-3 members I was talking about, I stand by that position. It is annoying and something that should end as everyone wants to love what may be the greatest team in college basketball history. But after conversations privately with Walter McCarty and Nazr Mohammed on Friday (both of whom were very cordial), I can understand the frustration at others being lumped in incorrectly for solely being on that team. I have tried in the past to make exceptionally clear that the issue wasn’t with the entire group, most of whom have great relationships with Calipari and the University, and instead was limited to a couple of vocal members (who themselves are good guys but have in my view made some silly public comments). I may not have been as clear about that on Thursday’s show as I should have and I am sorry about that. Hopefully this public flareup will help then entire relationship become better all the way around.
— Mississippi State opened as a three point favorite over the Cats in Football and that sounds about right to me. The Bulldogs are probably the slightly better team at this point but UK is very close and can certainly win. It is obviously a big game for the team, something we have said a great deal this year, but it also gives them a chance to put some really high goals on the table. With Missouri/Georgia looking beatable, the prospect of a season that UK could really savor is right there for the taking. I expect Commonwealth to be rowdy on Saturday night and I can’t wait.
— Watch “13th” on Netflix. Great documentary about the criminal justice system and the overpopulation of our prison system. I don’t care your political beliefs, you will find it engrossing and fascinating. Like “Making a Murderer”, I think it will be a documentary talked about by lots of people and it is definitely worth your time.
— Finally, visit our buddy Oscar Combs’ new website. He has been working on it for some time and I am proud of him for its launch. No one knows more UK basketball tales than Oscar and I can’t wait to read his stuff and listen to his podcasts. You can find all the goodies at OscarCombs.com
Tomorrow our radio show is live at Ryan Lemond’s colonoscopy, where we will talk about (among other things), Big Blue Madness, more recruiting updates, UK/Miss State and Ryan’s funeral home procession car wreck. See you then.